20 inexpensive and quick fix-ups • Selling your home higher

Sell your home higher
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The 20 inexpensive and quick fix-ups below will make your home sell at a higher price.

It doesn’t pay to rush preparation when selling your home. Unless your house is always in show-home condition, take your time to do your best. To ensure your home sells at its best price you have to impress potential buyers. Most homes are lived-in and most of the time preparation is required and worth doing.

Sometimes when planning to sell your home you don’t have the extra cash required to invest in renovations. And sometimes large expenditures don’t pay off. The bottom line is that you want to make as much return as possible when selling, and whether you have renovations planned or not, the list below details things that will help, affordably.

Imagine if a buyer begins to calculate deductions in their head for each issue they notice, what will happen if they write an offer? With the list below you will limit many of the issues that can lead to lower offers.

Clean

And when you are done cleaning have your most persnickety friend look for any spots you’ve missed. One missed spot can make cleaning look rushed or as though it’s only done rarely. Buyers will view a home more favourably when they imagine it’s always kept clean.

Clean the hidden areas too. A buyer will look inside your pantry, under your sink, and in closets. Clean and tidy those up too, and make them smell as fresh as possible. Cleaning will give you a chance to organize and declutter.

Purge and declutter

This applies to the inside of your home as well as the outside. Get rid of junk even if you’re planning to take it with you. You want everything to look as good as possible. But if your home is packed full of possessions it can make your home look messy and smaller.

Depersonalize your home so buyers can see it as theirs

Selling tip: Some items, if not repaired or replaced will negatively impact your sale price at an amount greater than the cost of repair.

In addition to cleaning and decluttering, you should consider depersonalizing your home. The goal when selling is to have a buyer fall in love with your house and picture themselves living there.

Neutralize the space by removing items such as family photos, souvenirs, religious symbols, diplomas and certificates, hobby supplies, and collections, including CDs and DVDs.

Yard care and presentation

Your home’s curb appeal and the first impression a buyer feels will pique their interest. Even if a person isn’t an avid gardener they will appreciate the beauty of flowerbeds and nice landscaping. An untrimmed lawn is unattractive and so are weeds. Make sure to mow often and get rid of any dandelions. Even in the winter, your yard needs to appear clean and tidy.

Clean the utility room

Put things in order, sweep the floor, and shine up all your appliances. A dirty furnace and hot water heater have buyers questioning how old they are. Even an older furnace looks newer when it’s not covered in dust. If your laundry room is combined with your furnace room, clean those appliances too, and clean and organize shelving, etc.

Shin up the exterior and especially the entrance.

Prepare for selling
PHOTO: GREG SCHIEDEMANN

And keep it shiny with cleaning every few days. Even in the winter, keep the sidewalk, front step, and surrounding area beautiful. Everyone knows how important the first impression is. As a Realtor, I’ve seen buyers’ expressions change before even opening the door.

Replace all missing parts

If a baseboard corner is missing, replace it. The small stuff matters more than you think. When a buyer sees one problem, even a little one, they imagine there’s more. A cracked vent or air return panel looks bad.

Make sure all lights and lightbulbs work.

Lightbulbs are inexpensive but they sure stand out when they’re not working. When selling your home, little things can make a big difference.

Make your house smell nice.

Air fresheners and diffusers are inexpensive and make a difference. Another good idea is to bake some cookies or muffins. Also, wash all of your walls well with a nice scented cleaner. Don’t overdo it though or buyers might think you’re covering something up. And don’t try to mask issues such as moisture or pet urine. It’s best to eliminate powerful smells when selling your home.

Paint if needed, when selling your home

But only paint if you can do a good job. Bad painting and finishing will hurt more than it helps. A professional painter, if needed, is a good investment. Change the colour of weird rooms. Your daughter might like purple and orange but a buyer will only think of repainting as a project and an expense.

Buyers will pay much more for a house in move-in condition.

Paint and repair the fence.

Older treated lumber can start to grey and become visually unappealing. If a fence is ugly looking and leaning over it can discourage an offer completely. It will definitely be an item a buyer wants a price reduction on.

If you think you might be selling in the winter, get this job done when the weather is right.

Do a thorough perimeter walk around.

View it with a buyer’s eyes when selling your home. Walk your outside yard and fence line and clean it up. Line up your garbage bins. Cut the grass behind your fence in the alley to make it look like you always do. Many buyers drive by the homes they are interested in even before viewing them. Make your property impressive outside too.

I’ve had buyers cancel the viewing of a particular house after driving by it. If a property looks terrible outside a buyer will assume the inside is similar.

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Make sure all doors and windows operate smoothly.

Usually, they just need adjusting but it’s very important they open and close nicely. If any parts are missing, replace them. Also in the cleaning details. get the crud and dirt out of the window tracks. Do a thorough job on this because it’s so important.

When selling your home you’re also selling your garage – shine it up.

Most people think the garage doesn’t matter but I’ve seen organized and painted garages wow buyers and solidify a potential offer. Even if you’re using your garage for decluttering storage, stack boxes and put larger items as out of the way as possible.

Replace old outdated or faded window coverings.

You don’t have to do the whole house or spend very much. The large hardware stores have some affordable window coverings. If you have terrible window coverings and can’t afford new ones, you might be better off removing them altogether.

If a blind is broken and somebody tries to open it, it can be the end of the showing as everyone tries to repair it. Now, instead of enjoying your home the potential buyer only remembers the broken blind.

Remove stains and discolorization from the ceiling

Maybe it’s only condensation that’s gathered around the exhaust fan but buyers will assume it’s a water leak and leaks can be deal-breakers.

Ghosting is a discolorization that you often see on the ceiling.  It occurs when soot and dust particles stick to the ceiling. Over time, these particles cause a permanent stain.  The clue is in the pattern – ghosting often appears in perfectly straight lines.

Why?  The lines correspond to the framing in the attic above.   Because the framing is a worse insulator than the surrounding fiberglass, a cold spot forms where the framing touches the ceiling. 

Ghosting might require repainting the ceiling.

Make sure all grading around your house slopes away from the home

If the ground tilts toward your house, add filler to those areas. The ground settles around the foundation and if the ground slopes toward your house water will flow in that direction. It will keep water away that could penetrate or damage your foundation. Any water accumulating and sitting by your foundation will gradually cause deterioration. And if this issue isn’t remedied it will show up on a home inspection and a buyer might assume water has accumulated there.

Windows

Clean your windows – Every house has a cleaner better vibe when the windows are clean. Nice clean windows will look 100% better in your sales pictures too.

Replace failed window panes – If you have windows with condensation between the glass it’s cost-effective to have those window panes replaced. Replacing all of your windows may not be cost-effective but if one or two windows are foggy you can replace the glass pane only. I think it’s cost-effective to replace failed window panes because when a potential buyer sees the foggy glass they assume if one fails, the others will fail soon too. Replacing one of a few window panes with cost only a small fraction of what new window units will.

When condensation between window panes forms, it means the seal on the insulated glass unit (IGU) has failed.

Make your windows look new – Most buyers look for vinyl windows when buying a home but if can’t afford to replace your windows there’s more you can do to improve them. If you have wooden window frames that look even a little distressed, sand and paint the frames for a fraction of the cost of replacement. And don’t just paint over the rough stuff, use some elbow grease and remove all the old paint before applying new paint. Every home buyer will check out the windows of a home, if they aren’t newer windows make them look new!

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Tidy above and below your line of sight

Corners, shelves, and light fixtures can collect dust bunnies and webs. You might not dust your house every week but while you are listed it is a good idea. Also, remove all bug traps and mouse traps as they’re unappealing to potential buyers.

Beautify the Bathrooms

Everyone knows the difference a bathroom can make for a house hunter, so keeping yours orderly is imperative. Organize everything from your countertops (no one wants to see your makeup and toothbrushes) to your linen closet and medicine cabinets, so people can visualize what they’ll do with the space. Shine all the fixtures and remember to put the toilet seat down for showings.

Summary – selling your home

After living in your home for a long time, it’s easy to overlook the things that can make or break an offer. Selling your home is about taking an objective look from a buyer’s point of view. Remove yourself and your memories from the equation, and imagine that you are seeing your home for the first time.

Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family for their honest feedback. Do a mock showing for a friend or three and have your Realtor scan your house too. You’ll be surprised at some little things you missed You’ll impress buyers who, in turn, will impress you with good offers.

When selling your home, extra preparation pays off.


blake king realtor broker

Hosted by Blake King Realtor® and Big Earth Realty. Blake King continually monitors the Red Deer and Central Alberta real estate market to track changes and watch trends. With this information, he’s able to help you make the most informed decisions when buying or selling your home. If you want to learn more about the local market and how it impacts your next real estate transaction, call or email Blake anytime at (403) 350-7672 or hello@blakeking.ca